Cooking is fun for kids. Even pre-schoolers enjoy stirring. With a little supervision older children can use knives, appliances and the rangetop and oven. Snack foods are ideal for beginning cooks because the results are soon ready for tasting. Here are some tips:
* Have your beginning cook roll up sleeves, pull back hair, wear an apron and wash hands.
* Teach children to use the right measuring tools: a glass or clear plastic liquid measuring cup for liquids; a metal or plastic dry measuring cup that's exactly the size needed for dry ingredients; standard measuring spoons for small amounts.
* Check liquid measurements at eye level by bending down, not lifting the cup.
* Show kids how to stir flour before measuring and spoon it into a cup without packing. To level a measure, hold the cup over waxed paper and level off with the straight edge of a narrow metal spatula. Remind them that teaspoons and tablespoons of dry ingredients need to be leveled, too.